Monday, September 26, 2005

MAS: Chavez-style dictatorship or back to the UDP

In my previous post I argued that an eventual MAS administration would soon follow into Hugo Chavez' steps and evolve into a Morales dictatorship. It seems, however, that that is not the only alternative. Periodist Cayetano Llobet argues that a Morales government would have more in common with the UDP administration than with the Chavez one, perhaps triggered by the televised assertion by one MAS leader that they would govern from the streets rather than the parliament or maybe by the fact that MAS encompasses several left-wing parties and social groups. Read Llobet's article here (in Spanish). Thus, he argues, there is no reason to worry.

UDP, of course, stands for Unidad Democratica y Popular, or Democratic and Popular Unity. This party was a coalition of several left-wing groups, among them the Bolivian Communist Party (PCB), Siles Zuazo's Revolutionary Nationalist Movement of the left (MNRI) and Paz Zamora's MIR. They won the 1980 election with 38.7% of the vote, 18 points ahead of the runner up. Because of the Garcia Meza coup, UDP would not govern until 1982. When they did, however, the many parties in the coalition proved the Unity was not so united after all, and the administration was responsible for Bolivia's most acute economic crisis. By 1982, GDP had dropped 10%. Inflation skyrocketed to more than 24000% in 1985 while debt-service payments consumed 70% of export earnings. Silez Zuazo tried several stabilization programmes, but each was the centre of a political struggle between the COB and the middle classes. Outnumbered by the parliamentary alliance between Paz Estenssoro's MNR and Banzer's ADN, Siles Zuazo ruled by executive decree, which only made matters worse, as he tried to please both sides (COB and middle class) of the struggle, effectively losing credibility in his efforts. So, Siles Zuazo administration collapsed by the end of 1984 and called for elections in July 1985, which gave place to Paz Estenssoro's historic fourth term and, of course, to decree 21060, which outlined Bolivia's entrance into a free market model.

As it is possible to see from this brief remembrance of the UDP, Llobet's tranquility is rather amnesiac. Why, exactly, should we not worry? Either possibility is deeply worrying for me - both as Bolivian and Libertarian.

In any case, be it an UDP-like administration or a Chavez-style dictatorship, one thing is clear: God save us from Morales.


Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

I agree with you Alvicho - what's not to worry about with either alternative? The UDP is just a softening pre-dictatorship stage and very ugly indeed. I would not look forward to that if I were Bolivian. This is going to be very negative.

12:45 PM  

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